This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery. Please follow the links below for related online resources or visit our current exhibitions schedule.The late-blooming career of Henri Rousseau (1844–1910), a self-taught French artist and savvy connoisseur of popular culture in the late 19th century, will be showcased in the first major American retrospective of the artist's work in 20 years. Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris celebrates the broad range of his work: landscapes of Paris and environs, allegories, portraits, as well as the largest grouping ever assembled of his iconic jungle paintings. Rousseau's fantasy landscapes depicting a seductive and terrifying faraway world, along with paintings of his homeland France, reflect the fears and desires of a modern era. This painter of exotic locales never left France; his jungles are the fantasies of a city dweller, constructed from visits to the botanical gardens and the zoo, as well as book, magazine, and postcard reproductions of dangerous beasts from distant lands. An extensive display of more than 100 documents, popular ephemera, and other source material will shed light on Rousseau's artistic ambitions, working method, and the world he inhabited.
Documentary Film: A thirty-minute film, Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris, narrated by Kevin Kline, has been produced by the National Gallery of Art for this exhibition. The film considers Rousseau's jungle paintings as part of the French fascination with the exotic in the later nineteenth century during the nation's colonial expansion. The film features archival film and photos as well as new footage of Rousseau's Parisian "jungles": the parks, zoos, and greenhouses that fueled his imagination.
Organization: Organized by Tate Modern, London, and Réunion des musées nationaux and Musée d'Orsay, Paris, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Sponsor: Major support for this exhibition was provided by the George Andreas Foundation. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the National Automobile Dealers Association.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.